The family of Linda Frickey visited her grave this week, a year after the 73-year-old was brutally killed in a Mid-City carjacking. “We want justice for our family member, but it’s not just for Linda. We want this for all elderly people. For all the victims of juvenile crime,” said Kathy Richard, Frickey’s sister-in-law.
Three of the Frickey Four — the teenagers who laughed in Frickey’s face as she bled to death on the North Pierce Street on March 21, 2022 — are expected to go to trial in April. Lenyra Theophile, one of the four defendants in the case, was found to be incompetent and too depressed to stand trial. She will spend 60 days in psychiatric care before being re-evaluated. The other three may be tried as adults in the coming weeks. Charged with second-degree murder, the teens could spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Did John Honore, Mar’Qel Curtis, Briniyah Baker and Theophile wake up that spring morning in 2022 and decide to violently carjack a senior citizen? Not likely. Their problems would have started years earlier and can be blamed on a multitude of issues.
“Society — not just one group — failed these children,” said one retired school leader who spent 30 years as a teacher and principal in New Orleans Public Schools. “They fell through the cracks, and there was no way to catch them.”
“Youngsters who have this level of problems used to be identified by the third grade and a plan made to help them. Unfortunately, our school safety nets are gone. In addition, many of these parents were still kids themselves when they had children and were unprepared financially and emotionally for parenthood,” she continued.
The safeguards New Orleans’ public school system had in place prior to Hurricane Katrina vanished with the dominance of charter schools. Funds that used to be spent on such resources as counselors, social workers and medical professionals are now directed to other areas, including the increased cost of bus transportation.
“Good kids go bad when they hang out with the wrong people. Extended families don’t exist anymore. Latchkey children need supervision after school hours. Gov. Jindal dismantled much of the state’s mental health infrastructure. Too many children are raised by single parents who work two or three jobs just to keep food on the table. They might not have insurance to cover private mental health services,” she concluded.
“By the time kids turns 16, especially boys, you can’t always control them. Peer pressure becomes a powerful force,” said one single mother who juggles her son and career while also caring for an elderly parent.
Linda Frickey was killed in the middle of a school day. Truancy is a growing problem in public schools around the country. Parents should be held accountable for their children who are chronic truants. There are many who are accountable for juvenile crime — as well as the juveniles themselves. The results of this problem can be deadly.
REGISTRAR OF VOTERS SANDRA WILSON PUZZLES SOME VOTERS WITH RECENT MAILING
It is always difficult to gauge how many people are actually eligible to vote in New Orleans. In January, 269,180 voters were listed on the Orleans Parish rolls. In February 2023, the number had dropped by almost 5,000. The words “inactive voter” have become a new part of New Orleans’ lexicon.
Hundreds of 7th Ward voters were recently caught off guard when they received letters from Registrar of Voters Sandra Wilson. The recipients found a new voter registration card with a message asking them to “review the information carefully” and contact Wilson “to make any changes.” Wilson’s detractors immediately cried foul and declared that she must be using the letters to purge the rolls, especially since letters were also delivered to voters who no longer reside at some of those addresses.
In fact, new registration cards were sent out because the voters’ polling place had moved. The Registrar of Voters is legally obligated to issue new cards to all voters on the rolls whenever a polling location changes. Unfortunately, the letter did not specifically reference the change, which only added to the uneasiness some voters felt.
The timing of the letters was suspicious, considering the polling location had already changed in February. It certainly would have been better if the letter had clearly stated why voters were getting a new card.
“I was surprised and concerned when the letters came,” said one recipient, “especially since I got one for a person who hasn’t lived at this address in at least eight years.”
In May of each year, the Secretary of State usually matches the voter list against the national change of address file of the U.S. Postal Service. Then the registrar has until June 30 to send a canvass card to those voters whose changes of address were flagged. The system works best when voters return the canvass card. At the end of the day all citizens should have confidence in our government that the official voting records are correct.
LEGISLATIVE BREAKFAST WITH CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS SET FOR SATURDAY
The National Coalition of 100 Black Women in partnership with the three local chapters of The Links will hold their annual legislative breakfast featuring members of the City Council on Saturday (March 25) at Southern University’s Millie M. Charles School of Social Work Building, 6801 Press Drive. The event will take place from 9:30 a.m. until noon and is free and open to the public.
Links chapters participating include the New Orleans, Crescent City and Pontchartrain clubs headed by Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier, Tracie Boutte and Shaniece Bickham, respectively. Lanissa Grogan Stewart is president of the Coalition.
The legislative breakfast will focus on crime, economic development, health, housing and other relevant topics. For more information contact Yvonne Mitchell-Grubb at 504-228-1947.
MANDIE LANDRY KICKS OFF RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN APRIL 3
The past six months have been tough for District 91 state Rep. Mandie Landry. She lost a contentious race for a vacant state Senate seat to Royce Duplessis and also lost faith in the Louisiana Democratic Party, which precipitated her registration change to No Party. Yet voters who know Landry realize she will soldier on. Landry is hosting a pre-legislative session and re-election kick-off Monday, April 3, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Urban South Brewery, 1645 Tchoupitoulas. The event is free and kid-friendly but contributions are always accepted.
More than 100 of Landry’s friends are hosting the event including Susan Brennan, Dr. Rebekah Gee, Scott Bickford, School Board President Olin Parker, Ravi and Elizabeth Sangisetty, Pam Steeg and Pres Kabacoff. During her legislative career, Landry has fought hard on issues such as maternal health, reproductive rights, gun safety, criminal justice reform, tenants’ rights, and flooding and hazard mitigation. She is also one of the eight-member committee inquiring into the circumstances and investigation on the death of Ronald Greene.
The regular session of the Louisiana Legislature begins April 10. Qualifying begins Aug. 8 for the Oct. 14 elections, which will include all legislators and state-wide office holders.
Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as former District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, former City Councilman Jared Brossett, City Councilwoman at-large Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, former Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former City Councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. She is a member of the Democratic Parish Executive Committee. Columbus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.